Lumsden

Review: Last Mountain Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
3-5 yrs
Recipe
N/A
Producer Last Mountain (Lumsden, Saskatchewan)

This is a wheat whisky which is aged 3-5 years in ex-bourbon barrels before being recasked to age for a longer period of time. Though this whisky is in production, along with their Private Reserve, there is hope for more wheat and rye whisky to be released as stocks mature.


Review (2015; Blind)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Light, fruity, and floral: clean grape, dry rye, cookie dough, and some rich oaky vanilla. With everything else lightly integrated into the whisky, there is a surprising set of tannins in the mix here which add to the whisky quite well. There is quite a nice confectionary sweetness and character (which really comes to its own in their “private reserve”). Really great stuff coming out of this distillery.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $33.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

  • Bottling Code: N/A

Dry, spicy, and slightly sweet with palm sugar, green wood, nutmeg, clove, green wood, and light oak. The palate is slightly sweet, continuing with lots of spices in a fairly traditional Canadian style with some terrific wax. Corn and oak carry the finish nicely.  Overall, it’s slightly confectionary, and, though not the most complex of whiskies – this is very easy.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $33.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Coconut macaroons, juniper, coconut, icing sugar, sweet wheat, and a rich grain character that only comes out towards the end of the palate. A light vegetal characteristic is present underneath which provides a very complex experience. Easy to drink, and delicious.

Recommended (81% of whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: Average, at $33.


Review: Granny's Gin (Last Mountain) by Jason Hambrey

Image courtesy of Last Mountain distillery.

Image courtesy of Last Mountain distillery.

ABV
40%
Aging
None
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Last Mountain (Lumsden, Saskatchewan)

I quite like Last Mountain's products - their whiskies and their other products (like their dill pickle vodka) are made very well. As I do like my gin, I thought I'd see how it stacked up - it is a juniper heavy gin with 4 other botanicals including cardamom and pepper, made to be in a classic dry style. It is made in honor of Colin Schmidt's grandmother, who likes gin "not too florally". She likes her gin and sodas (I do too! 3 soda:1 gin with a citrus twist is my preference).


Review (2018)

  • Batch: N/A
  • Bottling Code: N/A
  • Bottling Date: 2018

I am actually quite a fan of juniper focused gin, as we are here – but also with some nice coriander and dried citrus peel. It is a really nice, rich nose. The palate starts with juniper, and ends with citrus – dried orange and grapefuit peel.  There is a terrific lemon edge to the whole thing, and the finish is light and has a nice spicy edge to it, alongside citrus and pine. The base to the gin is light, and not too heavy – which I like. Fairly light finish, but slightly drying and very pleasing.

It’s more in the style of a traditional dry gin, but I tend to quite like those styles.

Assessment: Recommended.


Review: Rig Hand Bar M Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

Picture courtesy of Rig Hand Distillery.

Picture courtesy of Rig Hand Distillery.

ABV
45%
Aging
~4 yrs
Recipe
Wheat, Barley, and Rye
Distiller Rig Hand (Nisku, AB) and Last Mountain (Lumsden, SK)

This is Alberta's first micro-distillery whisky (released in November 2017), made with a collaboration between Last Mountain and Rig Hand distillery - a blend of Last Mountain's 100% Wheat Whisky (who produce the best wheat whisky I've tasted...) and Rig Hand’s 10% Rye, 40% Wheat, and 50% Barley mashbill. The Rig Hand component has seen a variety of casks: 10 gallon used wheat whisky barrels from Last Mountain, 25 gallon used bourbon barrels from Stillwrights, Ohio, 53 gallon used bourbon barrels from Heaven Hill, Kentucky and 60 gallon used French sherry casks.

Rig Hand hopes to collaborate more with Last Mountain to produce similar releases in the future and maintain the flavor profile. Rig Hand has other whiskies to be released when mature  - a 100% rye, a bourbon style corn whisky, and a single malt.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Grainy notes, light clove, roasted green peppers, coconut, orange peel, and grape lead into a palate which lends soft molasses, cream of wheat, light icing sugar, and that classic, dusty Canadian rye backbone of light spices. Lots of peppery spice notes on the nose. There is a light oiliness which is terrific, and a rising set of waxiness and woody spices towards the finish. The finish has some green pear, clove, and cinnamon with brown sugar making an appearance too once much has faded.

This isn’t a raw whisky – I say this only because often tasting something from a craft distillery means it is too young – this is not so, it is ready. It’s light, it’s fairly easy, and it is a whisky that leaves you wanting more. There isn’t much wrong with it – it’s balanced and interesting – but not overly complex. A good inaugural release - we’ll have to see what is next for Rig Hand!

Value: Low, for now - but almost up to average. I imagine with time we’ll see more. But, also - try their Brum!


Review: Rig Hand Brum (Sugar Beet Rum) by Jason Hambrey

Photo courtesy of Rig Hand Distillery.

Photo courtesy of Rig Hand Distillery.

ABV
40%
Aging
None
Recipe
100% Sugar Beet Molasses
Distiller Rig Hand (Nisku, AB)

Here is something you don't see very often! Rig Hand distillery in Nisku, AB, wanted to make a local rum, however, sugar cane doesn't grow in Ontario. They turned their attention to sugar beets, instead, but initial experiments using sugar beets directly produced a spirit that had a dirt flavor no matter what level of cleaning was done. Consequently, they turned their attention towards sugar beet molasses sourced from the Rogers/Lantic plant in Taber, Alberta. It is reasonably sweet, but this is not from added sugar but rather from a backset flavouring technique where some of the unfermented water/molasses mixture is set aside before fermentation and added to the final distilled spirit for both flavouring and colouring.


Review (2017)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2017

Quite the nose! Earthy, earthy and fruity – loads of black licorice, spices, red cabbage, plums, red currants. Complex and interesting. A surprising palate, revealing more than the nose – clove, light nuts and loads of dried fruit – raisin, dried apricot – it also, for whatever reason, has many touches that remind me of rancio. Anyone who likes licorice flavors and sherry might find this of interest! Terrific finish full of spices, leather, raisins, red currants – it reminds me quite strongly of armagnac.

Assessment: Very Highly Recommended. Taste alone would land it in the range of a recommended, but this is so unique and intriguing it’s one of my favourite tries of the year! Pick up a bottle, if you can find it.

Value: High.


Review: Last Mountain Private Reserve Canadian Whisky by Jason Hambrey

ABV
40%
Aging
4-5 yrs; Used Bourbon & 10 Gallon Barrels
Recipe
N/A
Distiller Multiple

I've been looking forward to putting up this review for a while. A great aspect of large blind tests, as with the Canadian Whisky Awards for me, is that there are undiscovered gems that surprise - this was one, for me. Much of what comes out of craft distilleries is raw and young, often too raw or too "finished" to compensate for the raw youth....this whisky is neither. The whisky is a blend of 3-5 year old sourced wheat whisky which is matured in ex-bourbon barrels before being finished in new 10 gallon barrels before bottling. Sadly, the whisky is not available in Ontario - only Saskatchewan and some places in Alberta and BC. However, in combination with the Still Waters Rye, it's the best of the Canadian craft scene that I have tasted. It's been appreciated by others as well, picking up a silver medal in both the 2015 and 2013 Canadian Whisky Awards.


Review (2015)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2015

Creamy, leading with some vanilla, freshly sawn oak, custard, and very dessert like and smelling quite sweet - like walking into a confectionary! Yet, underneath it all, there's a bit of spice giving it all a bit of an edge. On the palate, a nice mouth-feel with some corn-starch like grain coming in at the background, but staying true to the nose while also supplying some intriguing vegetable and spice threads and light tannic structure. Very elegant.  The confectionary component is surprisingly similar to Crown Royal Single Barrel. Very nice stuff coming out of this distillery.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $45.


Review (2016)

  • Batch: N/A

  • Bottling Code: N/A

  • Bottling Date: 2016

Here we have some confectionary goodness! Like walking into a candy shop with all the sugary and light fruity notes. Light oak is present, with slight wheaty notes – but we’re still mainly on confectioner’s sugar here. The palate is more grain driven, alongside some dried apricot and brilliant, clear oak. A drying finish with oak, spices, and some more candy notes.

Highly Recommended (48% of all whiskies I’ve reviewed to date get this recommendation or higher).

Value: High, at $45.